Swimming with Buttercup
Ducks don’t exhibit emotion, right? So why is Buttercup flapping up a storm in this ordinary swimming pool? After all, ducks spend most of their lives in the water.
Water travel has not been natural for one-legged Buttercup. In fact, ground travel was not even possible until 2013, when Buttercup received his first prosthetic foot from Mike Garey, Buttercup’s trainer and the overseer of the Feathered Angels Sanctuary. The first prosthetic was a hinged 90-degree 3D prosthetic made for waddling, not for swimming. So this summer, Mike developed a straight prosthetic swim fin with innovative “flapper doors” for better water movement and paddling effectiveness.
In the image left, you can see the swim fin being prepared for printing in the Simplify3D Software interface. Mike places support structures (shown in blue) around the flapper doors to improve construction and guarantee a beautiful end result. Mike also used flexible filament to provide a more natural feel in the water, very much like a swim fin provides for a snorkeler.
Buttercup seems delighted with his new water skills. He even uses his prosthetic foot for grooming purposes, which turn out to be pretty nifty side benefit.
This new webbed prosthetic is something to shout about. Or quack about, as you’ll hear directly from Buttercup in the video. Go, Buttercup, go!